Between the Shout & the Sword: Does Your Shout Stop Short?

Today’s selected reading continues in the Old Testament book of Joshua, which was written and recorded by Joshua the son of Nun who succeeded Moses the servant of the LORD in leading the children of Israel into the land of Canaan. More specifically, today’s passage is found in chapters eight through ten of this Old Testament book. When you come to this particular portion of Scripture you will encounter Joshua and the children of Israel further engaging in conflict within the land of Canaan—the land in which they were brought by the supernatural hand of the LORD their God. As you read the words which are found in this passage of Scripture you will encounter Joshua and the congregation of the children of Israel engaging the city of Ai in conflict and battle after previously being discomfited by them. If you turn and direct your attention to the words which are written and found within the seventh chapter of this Old Testament book you will find and discover that the congregation of the children of Israel initially engaged the city of Ai with its men of war in battle, but were discomfited before them in battle. Upon reading the seventh chapter of the Old Testament book of Joshua you will find that the congregation of the children of Israel were defeated before Ai which was one of the cities found in the midst of the land of Canaan. Initially Joshua and the congregation of the children of Israel were concerned with their defeat before the city of Ai and its men of war—that was until it was discovered that the reason they were defeated before the men of war of the city of Ai was not because the LORD had somehow gone back on His promise, or because He had somehow forsaken and abandoned them, but because there was sin found in the camp. If you turn and direct your attention back to the Old Testament book of Deuteronomy you will find Moses speaking unto the congregation of the children of Israel in the plains of Moab that the camp of the assembly must be holy, for the LORD their God walks in the midst of the camp. Pause for a moment and think about and consider that fact, for it has the absolutely incredible opportunity to dramatically challenge your way of thinking, and how you view conflict and warfare—not only within your own life, but also within the lives of the congregation of the children of Israel. In the seventh chapter of the Old Testament book of Joshua you will find them choosing not to send the full strength and might of the army of Israel, but rather a small contingent of soldiers against the city of Ai and against its men of war, however, the narrative in the seventh chapter describes how the congregation of the children of Israel were soundly defeated before the men of Ai because of sin being found in the camp. What’s so absolutely astounding about the seventh chapter is when you think about and consider the fact that the LORD did exactly what Moses said and declared He would do. Moses emphatically declared unto the congregation of the children of Israel there in the plains of Moab that the LORD walked in the midst of the camp, and that the camp and everything in it must be holy. Consider if you will the words which are found in the twenty-third chapter of the Old Testament book of Deuteronomy beginning to read with and from the ninth verse:

“When the host goeth forth against thine enemies, then keep thee from every wicked thing. If there by among you any man, that is not clean by reason of uncleanness that chanceth him by night, then shall he go abroad out of the camp, he shall not come within the camp: but it shall be, when evening cometh on, he shall wash himself with water: and when the sun is down, he shall come into the camp again. Thou shalt have a place also without the camp, whither thou shalt go forth abroad: and thou shalt have a paddle upon thy weapon; and it shall be, when thou wilt ease thyself abroad, thou shalt dig there with, and shalt turn back and cover that which cometh from thee: for the LORD thy God walketh in the midst of thy camp, to deliver thee, and to give up thine enemies before thee; therefore shall thy camp be holy: that he see no unclean thing in thee, and turn away from thee” (Deuteronomy 23:9-14).

When you read the words which are written and recorded within this particular portion of the Old Testament book of Deuteronomy you will quickly discover that the camp of the congregation of the children of Israel was to be a holy and sacred place, and there was to be no unclean thing in the midst of the camp. As you begin reading this section of scripture you will find Moses instructing the congregation of the children of Israel concerning when they went forth against their enemies, and how they were to keep themselves from every wicked thing. What’s more, is that as you come to the end of this portion of Scripture you will find Moses declaring unto the congregation that the LORD their God walks in the midst of the camp, to deliver them, and to give up their enemies before them. Because the LORD walked among them and walked in the midst of the camp, and because the LORD walked among them to deliver them, and to give up their enemies before them, the entire camp was to be holy, and the LORD was to see no unclean thing in and among them, and so turn away from them. Oh please don’t miss and please don’t lose sight of this absolutely incredible truth, for it helps us understand that which we find in the seventh chapter of the Old Testament book of Joshua. In the seventh chapter of the Old Testament book of Joshua we find the children of Israel being defeated by the men of war in Ai—not because Ai was somehow stronger and mightier than they were, nor even because the LORD had somehow forsaken and abandoned them. The children of Israel were defeated by the men of war of Ai because there was sin in the camp, and the LORD who walked in the midst of the camp took notice of that which one attempted to hide and conceal from man. It’s actually quite interesting to think about and consider the fact that not only did Achan think that he could actually take that which was to be sacred and holy before and unto the LORD, but he also thought he could hide and conceal it—perhaps only from man, or perhaps even from the sight of the LORD God who walked in the midst of the camp. There is a part of me that can’t help but wonder if Achan somehow forgot the words of Moses when he declared that the LORD God walked in the midst of the camp, and that the camp must be holy before and in the sight of the living God. Perhaps Achan somehow forgot the words of Moses when he declared unto the children of Israel that when they went forth against their enemies, they were to keep themselves from every wicked thing. The thing that I find to be the most astonishing about the narrative of Achan’s sin and the subsequent defeat of the congregation of the children of Israel is that not only did Achan seem to forget and/or ignore the words which Moses the servant of the LORD commanded and instructed in the plains of Moab, but he also seemed to neglect and/or ignore the words which Joshua commanded concerning the spoils that would be found in the midst of the city of Jericho. Consider if you will the words that are found in the sixth chapter of the Old Testament book of Joshua beginning to read with and from the eighteenth verse of this chapter:

“And ye, in any wise keep yourselves from the accursed thing, lest ye make yourselves accursed, when ye take of the accursed thing, and make the camp of Israel a curse, and trouble it. But all the silver, and gold, and vessels of brass and iron, are consecrated unto the LORD: They shall come into the treasury of the LORD” (Joshua 6:18-19).

In the twenty-third chapter of the Old Testament book fo Deuteronomy we find Moses the servant of the LORD instructing the congregation of the children of Israel concerning their going forth to war, and how when their army went forth to war, they were to keep themselves from every unclean thing. Furthermore, Moses would go on to declare unto the congregation of the children of Israel that the LORD their God walked among them in the midst of the camp, and that the camp must therefore be holy and sacred before and in His sight. The LORD was not to see any unclean thing, any accursed thing, any wicked thing, any vile thing, or any evil thing in the midst of the camp, lest He be displeased with the people, turn away from them, and give them into the hands of their enemies. What’s more, is that when Joshua spoke unto the congregation of the children of Israel he instructed them to keep themselves from the accursed thing that might be observed and found in the midst of the city of Jericho, lest those who somehow take of the accursed thing make themselves accursed. Joshua would also go on to declare that those who dared take of the accursed thing would not only make themselves accursed, but they would also make the camp of Israel a curse, and trouble it. Joshua declared that all the silver, all the gold, and all the vessels of brass and iron were consecrated unto the LORD, and they were to come into the treasury of the LORD. In all reality, Joshua was very clear and very specific when speaking unto the congregation of the children of Israel concerning the accursed thing, and his warning could not have been any clearer, as he instructed the children of Israel to resist the temptation to take of the accursed thing that was found to be present within the city of Jericho, and that all the gold, all the silver, all the bronze, and all the iron were consecrated unto the LORD and were to be placed within His treasury. What makes Achan’s sin so absolutely tragic and dangerous is when you think about and consider the fact that not only was his transgression and iniquity a direct violation of the words which Moses the servant of the LORD spoke unto the congregation in the plains of Moab, but it was also a direct affront and assault toward and against the words which Joshua the son of Nun spoke unto the congregation of the children of Israel before they would begin marching around the walls of the city of Jericho. The sin and trespass of Achan was a deliberate, intentional and blatant disregard for the words and command of Moses the servant of the LORD, and even the instruction given by Joshua the son of Nun, and it would not only bring trouble upon him, but it would also bring trouble upon the entire camp of the children of Israel. If and as you read the words which are found within the seventh chapter of the Old Testament book of Joshua you will find the account of Achan’s trespass and transgression, and how not only did his trespass trouble the entire congregation of the children of Israel, but it would also be found out and discovered by the LORD as the LORD would use their defeat before the people of Ai to expose the sin which was found in the camp. Consider if you will the words which describe and detail the transgression of Achan as found in the opening verses of the seventh chapter, as well as the words which describe Achan’s sin being found out and discovered by Joshua and the congregation of Israel after it was exposed by the LORD of hosts:

“But the children of Israel committed a trespass in the accursed thing: for Achan, the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took of the accursed thing: and the anger of the LORD was kindled against the children of Israel. And Joshua sent men from Jericho to Ai, which is beside Beth-aven, on the east side of Beth-el, and spake unto them, saying, Go up and view the country. And the men up and vowed Ai. And they returned to Joshua, and said unto him, Let not all the people go up; but let about two three thousand men go up and smite Ai; and make not all the people to labour thither; for they are but a few. So there went up thither of the people about three thousand men: and they fled before the men of Ai. And the men of Ai smote of them about thirty and six men: for they chased them from before the gate even unto Shabarim, and smote them in the going down: wherefore the hearts of the people melted, and became as water” (Joshua 7:1-5).

“And the LORD said unto Joshua, Get thee up; wherefore lies thou thus upon thy face? Israel hath sinned, and they have also transgressed my covenant which I commanded them: for they have even taken of the accursed thing, and have also stolen, and dissembled also, and they have put it even among their own stuff. Therefore the children of Israel could not stand before their enemies, but turned their backs before their enemies, because they were accursed: neither will I be with you any more, except ye destroy the accursed from among you. Up, sanctify the people, and say, Sanctify yourselves against to morrow: for thus saith the LOD God of Israel, There is an accursed thing in the midst of thee, O Israel: thou canst not stand before thine enemies, until ye take away the accursed thing from among you. In the morning therefore ye shall be brought according to your tribes: and it shall be, that the tribe which the LORD taketh shall come according to the families thereof; and the family which the LORD shall take shall come by households; and the household which the LORD shall take shall come man by man. And it shall be, that he that is taken with the accursed thing shall be burnt with fire, he and all that he hath: because he hath transgressed the covenant of the LORD, and because he hath wrought folly in Israel” (Joshua 7:10-15).

“And Joshua said unto Achan, My son, give, I pray thee, glory to the LORD God of Israel, and make confession unto him; and tell me now what thou hast done; hide it not from me. And Achan answered Joshua, and said, Indeed I have sinned against the LORD God of Israel, and thus and thus have I done: When I saw among the spoils a goodly Babylonish garment, and two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold of fifty shekels weight, then I coveted them, and took them; and, behold, they are hid in the earth in the midst of my tent, and the silver under it. So Joshua sent messengers, and they ran unto the tent; and, behold, it was hid in his tent, and the silver under it. And they took them out of the midst of the tent, and brought them unto Joshua, and unto all the children of Israel, and laid them out before the LORD. And Joshua, and all Israel with him, took Achan the son of Zerah, and the silver, and the garment, and the wedge of gold, , and his sons, and his daughters, and his oxen, and his asses, and his sheep, and his tent, and all that he had: and they brought them unto the valley of Achor. And Joshua said, Why hast thou troubled us? The LORD shall double thee this day. And all Israel stoned him with stones, and burned them with fire, after they had stoned them with stones. And they raised over him a great heap of stones unto this day. So the LORD turned from the fierceness of his anger. Wherefore the name of that place was called, The valley of Achor, unto this day” (Joshua 7:19-26).

As you read the words which are found in the seventh chapter of the Old Testament book of Joshua you will find that Achan had indeed sinned against the LORD and had transgressed against his covenant when he took of the accursed thing which the children of Israel were commanded not to. What’s more, is that not only did Achan take of the accursed thing, but he dared bring it into the camp, and dared take it a step further and hid it in the earth under his tent. Because Achan had deliberately and intentionally sinned and transgressed against the commandment of the LORD, both he and his actions wrought folly and trouble upon the entire congregation of the children of Israel. It was because of Achan’s willful and deliberate transgression against the command of the living God that the children of Israel were defeated before their enemy, for the LORD walked in the midst of the camp of Israel and saw and took notice of the accursed thing. In all reality, we must acknowledge the fact that what we find and what we read in the seventh chapter of the book of Joshua didn’t need to happen, nor did it need to take place. There was absolutely no reason the children of Israel should have been defeated before the men of war from the city of Ai, and there was no reason they should have fled before them, nor thirty-six men to be slaughtered and put to death with the sword. The truth of the matter is that Achan did in fact sin and transgress the commandment of the LORD, and did in fact trouble Israel, and as a direct result of his sin the children of Israel experienced defeat in the midst of the land of Canaan. After having soundly defeating the inhabitants of the city of Jericho, the children of Israel were defeated before the men of war of the city of Ai—not because the men of Ai were somehow stronger or mightier than they, nor even because the children of Israel had chosen to send only three thousand men against the city. The reason the children of Israel were defeated before the men of war of the city of Ai was because sin was discovered in the midst of the camp, and it wouldn’t be until that accursed thing, and the sin was removed from the camp that Israel would once more able to stand before their enemies. What makes that which we find and read in the seventh chapter of the book of Joshua so intriguing is when you think about and consider the fact that this was the only account of the congregation of the children of Israel being defeated before their enemies in the midst of the land of Canaan, and even this was only one particular enemy that dwelt in the midst of the land. The entire Old Testament book of Joshua is a book about conquer, a book about warfare, a book about conflict, a book about struggle and battle, as the men of war among the children of Israel would march within and throughout the land conquering and subduing the enemies and inhabitants which dwelt in the midst of the land. Everything found within the Old Testament book of Joshua is about conflict, warfare, and battle against the inhabitants which dwelt in the midst of the land of Canaan, and only this particular narrative describes the children of Israel being defeated before their enemies.

If you begin reading with the eighth chapter of the book of Joshua you will find the congregation of the children of Israel preparing to pick up where they left off after defeating the inhabitants of the city of Jericho as the LORD caused the walls of the city to fall down flat before the children of Israel. While it was true that Israel did in fact sin and transgress against the command of the LORD with the accursed thing, Israel had removed the accursed thing form their midst, and had therefore sanctified and purified the camp once more. The first and opening verse of the eighth chapter of this Old Testament book describes how the LORD spoke unto Joshua and instructed him to fear not, nor be dismayed, for he was to take all the people of war with him, and rise up, and go to Ai, as He had given into his hand the king of Ai, and his people, and his city and his land. Pause for a moment and consider the fact that this is absolutely incredible when you truly take the time to think about it, for although the congregation of the children of Israel had been defeated before the men of Ai because of iniquity and transgression among them—they would now be instructed to rise up and march against that which they had been previously defeated. Oh how absolutely remarkable and astonishing it is to think about and consider the fact that even though Israel had sinned with the accursed thing, and even though Israel had in fact transgressed against the LORD and were defeated before their enemy as a result—the LORD would not allow their enemy to triumph over them. The LORD would not allow the inhabitants of Ai to remain in the midst of the land, nor would the LORD allow Ai to have any authority or power over the children of Israel. The words which we find in the eighth chapter of the book of Joshua are truly and utterly captivating, for these words reveal the absolutely wonderful reality that the LORD was still willing to fight for the children of Israel, and the LORD was still willing to move among them in the midst of the land as He helped them to discomfit, drive out and dispossess the inhabitants of the land. It was true the congregation of the children of Israel had been defeated before the men of Ai because of the accursed thing that was found among them in their midst, however within the eighth chapter, and continuing to read beyond that chapter we find the LORD once more fighting for the children of Israel in the midst of the land. Perhaps one of the most intriguing and astonishing realities that is found within the book of Joshua is that it is essentially a book about partnership between the LORD and the army of the children of Israel, for it is a book about the army of the children of Israel fighting side by side and together with the LORD, and the LORD indeed fighting side by side with the children of Israel. In order to help illustrate this point even more, it is absolutely necessary to consider the words which are found in the fifth chapter of this Old Testament book. Consider if you will the words found in the fifth chapter of the book of Joshua beginning to read with and from the opening verse:

“And it came to pass, when all the kings of the Amorites, which were on the side of Jordan westward, and all the kings of the Canaanites, which were by the sea, heard that the LORD had decried up the waters of Jordan from before the children of Israel, until we were passed over, that their heart melted, neither was there spirit in them any more, because of the children of Israel…” (Joshua 5:1).

“And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he left up his eyes and looked, and, behold, there stood a man over against him with his sword drawn in his hand: and Joshua went unto him, and said unto him, Art thou for us, or for our adversaries? And he said, Nay: but as captain of the host of the LORD am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship, and said unto him, What saith my lord unto his servant? And the captain of the LORD’s host said unto Joshua, Loose thy shoe from off thy food; for the place where on thou stand East is holy. And Joshua did so” (Joshua 5:13-15).

In the opening verse of the fifth chapter we find Joshua writing how the kings of the Amorites which were west of the Jordan, and how the kings of the Canaanites which were by the sea heard what the LORD God of Israel had done for them, and how He had parted and divided the waters of the Jordan River, and allowed them to pass through upon dry ground. What’s more, is that if you turn and direct your attention back to the second chapter of this Old Testament book of Joshua you will find the harlot Rahab speaking unto the two spies of Israel whom she had taken and hid upon the roof of her house that she might preserve and protect them. It’s worth noting and considering the words which Rahab spoke unto these two men, for her words are a clear indication of the overall mindset and line of thinking in the midst of the land, as all the inhabitants of the land were fearful and terrified because of what the children of Israel had done unto the kings of the Amorites east of the Jordan River, and what the LORD had done for them at the Red Sea. If you begin reading with and from the eighth verse of the second chapter of the Old Testament book of Joshua you will find Rahab speaking unto these two spies which had come from the camp of Israel concerning the report which was heard in the midst of the city—quite honestly, a report which was heard within and throughout the land. Beginning with the eighth verse of the second chapter of the book of Joshua you will find the following words which were spoken by Rahab the harlot unto the two spies before they had lain down for the night:

“And before they were laid down, she came up unto them upon the roof; and she said unto the men, I know that the LORD hath given you the land, and that your terror is fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land faint because of you. For we have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red Sea for you, when ye came out of Egypt; and what ye did unto the two kings of the Amorites, that were on the other side Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom use utterly destroyed. And as soon as we had heard these things, our hearts did melt, neither did there remain any more courage in any man, because of you: for the LORD your God, he is God in heaven above, and in earth beneath” (Joshua 2:8-11).

The words which Rahab spoke unto the two spies before they laid themselves down during the night help wonderfully and powerful emphasize this reality of the partnership that existed between the congregation of the children of Israel and the LORD their God, for her words speak of how the LORD parted and divided the waters of the Red Sea, and how the children of Israel had utterly destroyed Sihon and Og, which were two kings of the Amorites east of the Jordan River. As you read and consider the words which Rahab spoke unto these two spies you will find a harlot form the midst of the city of Jericho speaking of the report that was heard by all the inhabitants of the land—from the time the congregation of the children of Israel came out of the land of Egypt and passed through the waters of the Red Sea until and unto the time they had utterly defeated and destroyed Sihon and Og kings of the Amorites on the eastern edge of the Jordan River. What’s more, is that when you come to the fifth chapter of the book of Joshua you will find that the report of the children of Israel continued to surge within the land, as the kings of the Amorites which were west of Jordan, as well as the kings of the Canaanites which dwelt by the sea heard how the LORD had dried up the waters of Jordan before the children of Israel, and how they passed through on dry ground and entered into the land. Even more than this, we find in the sixth chapter how the city of Jericho was straitly shut up because of the children of Israel, for none went out, and none came in. By the time we come to the sixth chapter of the Old Testament book of Joshua we don’t find the army of Israel having engaged in a single battle with and against any of the inhabitants of the land, and yet what we find and what we read is a tremendous report that was surging through the land—not only a report that describes what the LORD did at the waters of the Red Sea, but also what the LORD did at the waters of the Jordan River. What’s more, is that within these chapters we find a report circulating and surging within and throughout the land concerning the congregation of the children of Israel, and how the children of Israel had utterly and completely destroyed Sihon and Og—two kings of the Amorites on the east side of the Jordan River. Before any man of war from the midst of the congregation of the children of Israel had lifted up a single sword in the midst of the land ,a report would surge within and throughout the land—not only concerning that which the LORD had done for and on behalf of the congregation of the children of Israel, but also what the children of Israel had done unto those kings east of Jordan.

THE PARTNERSHIP BETWEEN THE LORD OF HOSTS AND HIS ARMY! THE PARTNERSHIP OF THE LORD OF HOSTS AND HIS SOLDIER(S)! WHEN THE LORD FIGHTS SIDE BY SIDE WITH HIS PEOPLE! WHEN THE PEOPLE OF GOD FIGHT SIDE BY SIDE WITH THE LORD OF HOSTS! UTTERLY DESTROYED! LEFT NONE REMAINING! LEFT NONE ALIVE! As you continue reading the words which are found within these chapters—even the words which are found in chapter six—you will find this tremendous truth contained within concerning this great partnership that existed between the Lord the God of the Hebrews and Hus people as they moved within and advanced throughout the land. When you come to the sixth chapter of this book you will find the very first battle the congregation of the children facing. What makes that which is contained in the sixth chapter is when you think about and consider the fact that although Jericho was essentially a fortified city and a stronghold within the land of Canaan, it wasn’t a battle in the traditional sense that we know and understand battle. If you read the words which are found in the sixth chapter you will find that the city of Jericho was tightly shut up because of the children of Israel as there none that went in and none that went out. The instruction which Joshua gave the congregation of the children of Israel was to march behind the priests which would blow their trumpets, and behind the Ark of the Covenant which would be directly behind the priests with the trumpets. One time for each of the first six days the congregation of the children of Israel were to march around the city in complete silence as the priests would blow the trumpets. After marching around the city once each of those six days the children of Israel were to return to their camp and remain the rest of the day and evening. On the seventh day, however, you will find the congregation of the children of Israel being instructed to march around the city seven times while the priests would blow the trumpets. When they came around the city on the seventh and final time, they were to shout with all their might and with all their strength for the Lord their God had given them the city. It’s absolutely incredible to think about and consider the fact that when it came to the city of Jericho which was perhaps the second greatest fortified city within the land of Canaan the congregation of the children would not need to engage in battle with the men of war in the midst of the city in the traditional sense of battle. In fact, it wouldn’t be until the walls of the city came crashing and crumbling down before them that the congregation of the children of Israel were able to rise up and enter the city and put everything that was alive to death. It would be after the walls of the city fell down flat before them and their voices that they were able to march straight up into the midst of the city and strike it with the edge of the sword. How absolutely wonderful and incredible it is to think about and consider this reality and how their voices were used before their swords.

The more you think about and the more you consider the words which are found within these chapters the more you will encounter the incredible reality that when the congregation of the children of Israel entered into the land they were instructed to utterly and completely destroy and drive out the inhabitants which were present in the midst of the land. They very first battle was the battle of Jericho and before they even drew their sword the sound of trumpets blowing and their voices raised and lifted up in shouting before the Lord was heard. Oh I can’t help but wonder what this sight would have looked like for the congregation of the children of Israel, and even the inhabitants of Jericho. What was it like for the inhabitants of Jericho to be within and inside the walls of the city and some of them look out from the walls and see this people marching around the city. What was it like as there not only saw this massive force compassing the city, but also hearing the sound of trumpets blowing as they marched round about the city. What’s more, is I can’t help but wonder what the silence during those first six days would have been like. For as long as it took the congregation of the children of Israel to march around the city the sound of the trumpets would be heard blowing outside the walls—until the sound of trumpets would no longer be heard. Oh I can’t help but wonder what the sound of the trumpets sounded like for the inhabitants of Jericho, and whether or not it was this foreboding sense of the unknown. Imagine being within the walls of the city and hearing the sound of trumpets blowing outside the walls of the city as the people of Israel marched around the city. What’s more, is that I can’t help but wonder what it would have sounded like when the trumpets stopped blowing and all was quiet and all appeared to be quiet. What was it like as the sound of the trumpets ceased blowing and the inhabitants of the city of Jericho watched as the people of Israel moved away from the walls of the city. The city itself was tightly shut up because of the children of Israel and there would be none that would go out and none that would come in, so I can’t help but wonder what it was like as the inhabitants of Jericho heard the sound of trumpets outside the walls of the city blowing loudly for six day’s straight. I can’t help but think about what the inhabitants of Jericho must have thought when the sound of the trumpets ceased and the sight of the people of Israel moving away from the city was observed by a number of men and women within the city. I can’t help but wonder at the great sense of confusion and chaos that would have been found within and in the midst of the city as the sound of tinkers would be heard for a period of time until it would and could no longer be heard. They seventh day must have been one incredible day of confusion and unrest in the midst of the city as there would be something different about that day. On the seventh day the sound of the trumpets would and could be heard for a longer period of time, and the people of Israel would do something they’d hadn’t previously done—namely, march around the city seven times.

Oh I can’t help but wonder what it was like for the congregation of the children of Israel to march around the city for seven times behind the sound of trumpets blowing and behind the glory and presence of God which went before them. What was it like for the inhabitants of Jericho as on the seventh day the people of Israel marched around the city seven times as the priests would blow their trumpets? It was one thing to hear the sound of the tinkers blowing for a period of time once during the first six days, but it was something else altogether for the inhabitants of Jericho to listen to and hear the sound of the trumpets blowing continually as the people of Israel marched around the city seven times. Oh how absolutely foreboding it would have been for the inhabitants of Jericho as they watched and observed the children of Israel marching around the city a second time, and a third time, and a fourth time, and finally a seventh time. I would imagine the anxiety within the hearts and minds of the inhabitants of the city of Jericho would have been off the charts with each time the congregation of the children marched around the city as they would undoubtedly wonder what was happening before and outside the walls. They would hear the sound of the trumpets blowing and they would see the people marching, but they wouldn’t see or notice anything different happening and taking place among them in the midst of the city. This is actually quite unique and astounding—not only for the inhabitants of Jericho but also for the people of God as well. I would imagine the confusion, the anxiety and the unrest that would have been in the hearts of the people of Jericho as they would hear the sounds of the trumpets blowing outside the walls, and they would see the people outside the walls marching behind the priests with the trumpets and the priests which bore the ark of the covenant, however, nothing was happening. What were the people of Israel doing as they marched around the city and as the priests knew the trumpets? What’s more, is that I am sure it must have been somewhat intriguing and somewhat confusing for the people of Israel as there marched around the walls of Jericho one time for six days without making a single sound as the only thing that was heard was the sound of trumpets. Even on the seventh day as the people of Israel would march around the city one time, two times, four times, five times, and finally seven times. What do you do when you’re instructed to do something, you know what is going to happen and what the Lord has promised, and yet you don’t see anything happen? I would imagine for the inhabitants of the city of Jericho it would have been especially disconcerting for them as they would observe the people of Israel outside the walls of the city and would hear the sound of the trumpets blowing during those six days and yet the people of Israel would march, the trumpets would be blown, and then the people would return to their camp. What method of warfare and battle was this that they would march up against the city and march around it without raising up their sword and shield against the city. What’s more, is I can’t help but wonder what the people of Jericho thought when and as the seventh day came and they heard the sound of trumpets blowing loudly as the people of Israel would march around the city—not once, not three times, nor five times, but seven times.

I absolutely love the narrative of the children of Israel and their marching around the city seven days as the priests would blow their trumpets and as the ark of the covenant would go before them. I love the narrative that for six days they would march around the city in silence until the seventh day came when they would march around the city seven times. If there is one thing we learn and one thing we encounter when reading the sixth chapter of the Old Testament book of Joshua it’s that the LORD would indeed fight for and on behalf of the congregation of the children of Israel as according to their obedience the first six days—and even the seventh day—the LORD would caused the walls of the city to come crashing down and fall down flat after the children of Israel began shouting with all their might and with all their strength on the seventh day and after the seventh time marching around the walls of the city. I can’t help but wonder what it must have been like for the congregation of the children of Israel as they would watch the walls of the city fall down flat and come crashing down before them. Jericho which was this incredibly fortified cities with walls so thick you could race chariots on top of them would come crashing down before them without them even having to use force, human strength or human might against the city. The only thing the children of Israel would be required to do was march around the city according to the commandment of the LORD as the priests would blow the trumpets, and as the Ark of the Covenant would go before them outside the walls of the city. On the seventh day the people of Israel would march around the city six extra times, and the priests would be required to blow the trumpets for a greater period of time until the seventh time was and had been completed, and the congregation of the children of Israel would remain outside the walls and would shout with all their might and with all their strength. If the sound of the trumpets was one thing for the inhabitants was one thing for the inhabitants of the city of Jericho, I can’t help but wonder what it was like to hear the sound of the people of Israel shouting with all their might outside the walls. What did and what would it sound like as six hundred thousand plus among the congregation of the children of Israel would shout outside the walls of the walls of the city with all their might. I can honestly tell you that I have never heard six hundred thousand plus people shouting with all their might and with all their strength in any type of corporate setting or context, and I can’t even begin to fathom what that would have sounded like. I am sure the inhabitants of the city of Jericho were filled with tremendous anxiety, unrest, chaos and confusion within their hearts and minds at the sound of the children of Israel shouting outside the walls of their city. What’s more, is that I can’t help but wonder how long the shouting lasted outside the walls of the city. Did the shouting last until the walls started crashing down and falling down flat before the congregation of Israel, or did the shouting continue until the walls had fallen completely flat before the congregation of the children of Israel? It’s quite intriguing to think about and consider the fact that we aren’t given any clue how long the shouting lasted outside the walls of Jericho, and I find that to be absolutely and incredibly intriguing when you truly take the time to think about it.

SHOUT UNTIL YOU SEE THE WALLS BEGIN TO CRUMBLE! SHOUT UNTIL THE WALLS HAVE COMPLETELY CRUMBED BEFORE YOU! I sit here this morning and I can’t help but get the strong sense concerning the congregation of the children of Israel and hot they were instructed to shout outside and before the walls of Jericho knowing the LORD had given them the city. It’s worth noting that the congregation of the children of Israel didn’t know how the LORD would give them the city, nor even what the LORD would do—only that the LORD promised to give them the city. The congregation of the children of Israel knew that they were to march around the city in silence one time for the first six days, and on the seventh day they were to march around the city seven times in silence, and upon completing the seventh time marching around the city they would shout with all their might. Oh I can’t help but wonder what it was like as the congregation of the children of Israel began shouting knowing that it was the LORD who had instructed them to shout. I wonder what it was like for the congregation of the children of Israel to shout, and as they began shouting the walls of the city would come crashing down before them. There is a part of me that wonders if the congregation of the children of Israel shouted until they saw the walls begin to crumble and begin to come crashing down and then they stopped. Is it possible that the children of Israel shouted until they began to see the walls of the city begin to fall flat, and then their shouting stopped? I have to admit that I strongly believe that it would be highly unlikely that they would shout only until they began to see the walls begin to crumble and fall down flat before them. I would imagine the children of Israel would shout and would continue shouting until the walls had fallen completely flat before them, and as the walls the city had come crashing down in front of them. Imagine what that sight must have looked like as the congregation of the children of Israel not only began shouting, and in response to their shouting the walls began to crumble and fall down before them. What’s more, is I can’t help but wonder what it would look and sound like as the congregation of the children of Israel began seeing the walls fall down flat and come crashing down before them, for I would dare say that their shouting might have grown louder and louder the more they witnessed and beheld the walls of the city fall. Down flat before them. Oh there is something about beginning to shout until you start seeing something happening in the natural—perhaps even in the spiritual and supernatural realm—and there is something to be said about continuing to shout, and perhaps shouting all the more louder as you continue to watch and behold as the LORD does a tremendous work before you. I would imagine the children of Israel shouted louder and longer the more the walls of the city began to crumble and fall down flat before them, for there is something about shouting and seeing something happening that instills a greater sense of faith within your heart and soul.

SHOUT UNTIL YOU SEE SOMETHING HAPPENING! CONTINUE SHOUTING EVEN AFTER YOU BEGIN TO SEE SOMETHING HAPPEN! I read the words found within the sixth chapter of this Old Testament book and I can’t help but be confronted with the fact that for some—the thought of shouting without knowing what would or could happen might be utterly and completely absurd. I can’t help but think about and consider the fact that there might be some who would think about and consider such a command and instruction to be absolutely ridiculous—that is until they actually begin shouting, and actually see something happening. With that being said, I would dare say that there are those among us who might begin shouting, and might shout until they see something beginning to happen, and then they stop shouting once they start seeing evidence of what their shouting has accomplished. Much like the king who only struck the ground three times and should have kept striking the ground, there are men and women who might very well begin shouting, and they might see something happening, but their shouting stops once they see something happening. The king who struck the ground three times alone was promised victory, however, because he stopped striking the ground and did not continue striking the ground, he would not completely and utterly destroy the enemy which was before him. Oh can I be bold and declare that there is something about shouting—and not only shouting, but shouting until you see something happening, and continue to shout until what the LORD has begun to do has been brought to completion. It is one thing to shout until you begin to see things shift in the supernatural and until you begin seeing things happen in the natural, but it is another thing altogether to continue shouting until that which began taking place before you continues and reaches the point of completion. I would imagine the congregation of the children of Israel would have continued shouting, and perhaps would have even shouted louder and longer as the walls of Jericho continued to collapse and crumble before them. What’s more, is that I can’t help but get the strong sense that even after the walls of Jericho had fallen down flat before them, and as they took up the sword to strike the city they continued to shout as they conquered and took the city. SHOUT UNTIL THE WALLS COME CRASHING DOWN! SHOUT AS YOUR TAKING THE CITY! I would dare say and suggest that not only did the congregation of the children of Israel shout until they began to hear the walls of the city breaking, and until they began seeing the walls crumbling before them, but they continued shouting until the walls had fallen down completely flat before them, and as they marched straight up into the city with their sword and put the city to sword. I would dare say that it wasn’t enough to simply shout until they began seeing the manifestation of their shouting, but until the manifestation of their shouting was done, and even as they marched straight up into the midst of the city with their swords drawn ready to put the city to the edge of the sword.

OH how absolutely wonderful it is to think about and consider the tremendous reality that the congregation of the children of Israel would have shouted until they began to hear the walls begin to break up and break apart, and even as they began to witness the walls crumbling before them. What’s more, is that I would dare say that the congregation of the children of Israel would continue shouting—even as they watched and saw the walls of the city begin to crumble, and would continue shouting until the walls had fallen down completely flat before them. THE SHOUT AND THE SWORD! Pause for a moment and consider the fact that when it came to the city of Jericho—not only did the congregation of the children of Israel shout with all their might and with all their strength, and lift up their voices outside the walls of the city, but they also took up the sword as they would put the city to death with the sword that was present in each man’s possession. There is not a doubt in my mind that the congregation of the children of Israel took up the sword and began striking the inhabitants of the city while continuing to shout as they used the sword to completely and utterly subdue and conquer the city. Please don’t miss and lose sight of this, for I am convinced that there are countless men and women among us who either are too nervous, too timid, or perhaps even too shy to shout, and as a result of their unwillingness to shout, they don’t see anything happening within their lives. There are other men and women who might very well begin to shout, and might even shout until they begin seeing something happening, but they stop as soon as they see the manifestation of their shouting. I believe with all my heart that the Spirit of the sovereign Lord is calling and instructing men and women to not only begin to shouting, but to not stop shouting just because they begin to see something happen before them. I believe the Spirit of the sovereign LORD is calling men and women to continue shouting—even after they begin seeing something happen, and until the work which takes place before them and within their lives is carried out to completion. What’s more, is I would dare say that there is a clarion call for men and women to even continue shouting and raising their voices while they are taking up and using the sword to engage the enemy in conflict and battle. I am absolutely convinced that there are men and women who are being instructed by the Spirit right now to begin shouting, to shout until they begin seeing something happening, and to continue shouting until the work of the LORD is completed, and as they begin to engage their part of the work. The LORD would cause the walls of Jericho to fall down flat before the children of Israel, but it would be the responsibility of the children of Israel to march straight up into the city and to strike it with the edge of the sword. Oh that we would recognize that we not only have a responsibility to shouting with all our might and with all our strength, but also to taking up the sword and using the sword to fulfill and carry out that which the LORD has commanded and instructed us. There is a tremendous and powerful responsibility—not only to shout with all our might and with all our strength, but also to take up the sword according to the word and command of the LORD, and to utterly smite and utterly destroy that which the LORD has commanded and instructed us to destroy.

This actually brings me to this absolutely astounding reality and concept of our partnering with the LORD in carrying out and fulfilling the work which He has commanded and instructed us to do. If and as you read the words which are found within the Old Testament book of Joshua you will find that while the congregation of the children of Israel were instructed to utterly drive out and dispossess the inhabitants of the land, the LORD would also be engaged in the work. There were numerous times when reading the words found within these chapters where you will find the direct manifestation of, or a direct statement of the LORD and how He fought for the people of Israel. The book of Joshua was not only about the people of Israel taking up the sword and striking down cities within the land of Canaan with the sword, but it was also about them partnering together with the LORD in carrying out the work which He had commanded and instructed. It was the LORD who caused the walls of the city to fall down flat, and the work of causing the walls to fall down flat would take place between the shouting and the sword. BETWEEN THE SHOUTING AND THE SWORD! The children of Israel would shout with all their might as and until the walls of Jericho would fall down flat before them, and after the walls came crashing down, they would then take up the sword and strike the city with the edge of the sword. As you continue reading the words which are found within these chapters you will find the LORD continuing to fight with and fight for the congregation of the children of Israel, for not only do we find the LORD heartening unto the voice of Joshua and causing the sun not to go down for an entire day until the congregation of the children of Israel had won the victory, but we also find the LORD causing great stones to reign down from heaven upon their enemies within and in the midst of the land. Joshua and the congregation of the children of Israel would strike down and would put to death countless inhabitants of the land within the cities of the plain, the cities of the vale, and all that area round about Jericho, and there would even be a point when Joshua would bring out five kings from the land and have his commanders put their feet on their necks before they put them to death with the edge of the sword. What we find within this passage of Scripture is indeed the children of Israel carrying out the work of the LORD in the midst of the land as they struck down countless men and women and children in the midst of the land. The more you read and the more you consider the words which are found within the book of Joshua, the more you will encounter and come face to face with the fact that there was this strong partnership which existed between the children of Israel and the LORD as they would partner together to conquer and subdue the land. It wouldn’t be the LORD alone who would fight for the children of Israel in the midst of the land, but the LORD would fight with and would fight alongside the congregation of the children of Israel.

As I bring this writing to a close I can’t help but think about and consider the fact that within the Old Testament book of Joshua there exists this partnership between the LORD the God of the Hebrews and the people of Israel as they would work together to conquer and subdue the land. It was true that Joshua and the children of Israel would strike down and would put to death countless of the inhabitants of the land, but as surely and as much as that is true, it is also true that the LORD would fight with and alongside the congregation of the children of Israel. It was true the LORD had instructed them to conquer and subdue the land, but the LORD would fight with, and would fight side by side the congregation of the children of Israel as they carried out that work which He had instructed and commanded them to do. We dare not and must not miss this incredibly powerful point, for it directly impacts how we live our lives, and how we conduct ourselves, for we are instructed, and have been instructed to conquer and subdue the land before us, however, we have not been left to carry out that work alone, for the LORD has promised to go with us, and even to go before us. Even when you consider the task and the assignment that was given unto the disciples you will find that they weren’t expected to carry out the assignment alone without the help of the Holy Spirit, for Jesus would not leave them orphans, nor would He leave them comfort less. The disciples would have a great and monumental task before them, and because the task before them was so absolutely monumental, the Lord would give unto them the promise of the Father which was the Holy Spirit who would go with them, would be with them, and would work together with them. OH it is true we have been given a task which is to be done in the earth, however, we must recognize and understand that the task which is before us is one that we aren’t expected to do alone, for the LORD has promised to go with and to go before us. Oh that we would recognize and understand this absolutely incredible truth, for it brings us to the place where we recognize and understand that the LORD is indeed with us, and that the LORD has promised that He will not fail or forsake us, nor will He leave or abandon us. Oh we have been given a tremendous assignment in the earth and in the midst of our generation, however, the LORD has promised to go with us, and that we would work together in order to complete and carry out the assignment which is before us in this generation.

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